Plans for first council tax rise in four years

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Taxpayers are facing the prospect of an increase in their bills from Lincolnshire County Council for the first time in four years.

The authority is proposing a 1.9 per cent rise in council tax in the coming financial year in the wake of further cuts to its Government funding.

It would be the first time the council has increased the levy, which forms just part of residents’ annual council tax bills, since 2010/11.

Coun Martin Hill, leader of the council, said: “As expected, we’ve had another tough settlement from the Government and this comes on top of increased costs, much of which relates to the care of elderly people.”

Coun Hill said the ‘small’ 1.9 per cent increase, along with £33m for its reserves, would help plug a £67m gap in its budget for this year.

For the past three years, the authority has accepted a grant in return for freezing council tax.

This grant is on offer again, but only up to a value equivalent to a one per cent rise.

The council says an increase less than 1.9 per cent would mean reducing its planned level of service, while a rise of more than 1.9 per cent would trigger a referendum at an estimated cost of £800,000.

Coun Hill said the 1.9 per cent rise would equate to an extra £20 a year for a band D property.

He said: “That means our council tax will still remain the third lowest for a county council in the country.”

He added: “Whilst looking at the savings required we have been determined to protect children and adult safeguarding and, thanks in part to an extra £9m from the Government, we are able to increase spending on highways maintenance.”

The budget is currently out to consultation. Find out how to get involved at www.lincolnshire.gov.uk